The women’s ultimate Frisbee team has its eyes set on a trip to Seattle, Wash. in May 2004, site of this year’s college ultimate championships.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve gone. We feel this year we can make it,” senior co-captain Karen Ko said.

UCSB missed last year’s national tournament by a single point. Santa Barbara has three national championships in its history, the last of which came in 1991. The team has not made the tournament in several years – though this season may be different.

With a rebuilt team that features a roster almost three times as large as last year’s and a bevy of returning veterans, all signs are pointing to the Gauchos invading the Pacific Northwest come May.

“We’ve picked up some really strong players. Either they know how to play already or they’re very athletic, or both. It’s definitely a win-win situation,” Ko said.

Adding to the athleticism of the Gauchos will be former women’s basketball guard Debby Caine, who has decided to pick up the game after four outstanding years of hoops.

“It’s nice to have tall rookies,” Ko said. The Gauchos’ roster has gone from the 11 participating members on last season’s squad to the current number of 30. With this many athletes comes the possibility of expanding the program to two teams, a tactic that’s worked for other schools on the West Coast.

The team will travel to Santa Cruz for its first event of the year Nov. 15-16.

“I am looking forward to Santa Cruz to give us an idea of where we are in relation to the other teams out there,” senior co-captain Sarah Eminhizer said. Eminhizer and Ko will lead a core of nine returning athletes who are determined to bring the glory back to Santa Barbara. They will face tough competition in the always competitive Southwest Region, which has recently been dominated by #1 UC San Diego.

“That’s the game we want to win. They have a three-game winning streak on us, but we’re going to get our revenge this year,” Ko said. “It’ll be that much sweeter because they’re #1.”

“We’re fired up and we want to play hard,” Eminhizer said.

UCSB will host its annual Hats Tournament fundraiser on Dec. 7, and will also host a tournament in January.